Today I went downtown to see Rolling Thunder, which is a rally of Harley Davidsons that ride into town to promote veterans' rights. There are literally thousands of motorcycles that participate, which also brings thousands of patriotic people hungry for soft pretzels and awful music. I do admit though that I felt pretty badass walking around with old veteran motorcycle gangs, and I never felt safer in all my life. I wandered over to the somber Vietnam memorial which was swarming with people today. Amongst the flowers and pictures lining the base of the wall were several beer can tributes and fresh cigarettes in remembrance of the dead. Let me tell you, if I were dead all I would be thinking about is popping open a crisp Bud. KIDDING, POP. I do think that it feels more personal than leaving flowers though. Overall I felt a lot of respect amongst the people there, and it was humbling to see some tough dudes cry.
I then wandered through the Freer gallery, which had some amazing Asian art. My favorite part was this room called the Peacock Room that the founder of the museum bought from an old house and had installed in the museum. The focal point is this huge painting of two peacocks adorned with gold. It was rather breathtaking. I learned a lot more about Buddhism from that museum as well.
This evening was the annual PBS National Memorial Concert. I might just be a cynical bastard, but stuff like that is cool to a certain extent, and I appreciate the celebration of our country, but I have a hard time feeling patriotic in the state of our country right now, I hate country music, and I hate the idea of singling out one war hero in front of a crowd of thousands of men and women who probably had similar experiences. I also hate that actors from CSI New York are chosen to emcee the festivities. I feel that America is all about focusing on the dreamy individualistic hero-like appearance of war, so sometimes the bigger picture is blurred, and of course we are obsessed with celebrities which is why that CSI dude was center stage. If you want this post to be super long, I can keep going, but I don't feel like this is the place for me to jabber on about my poststructuralist-influenced beliefs.
On a lighter note, I saw a dude playing the Sesame Street song on a saxophone on the mall today, and I watched an old Navy veteran sneakily stick a bunch of grass in his buddy's pocket. God bless America, kids.